Where did you go? What did you see?

We Travel. For Work. A Lot. We enjoy it (and as we have neither children nor a daily commute, kibbitz someone else's carbon footprint, mine is offset courtesy of a conference we attend every year). This year we went to...

Ignoring places we visited for a day or along the way (coffee shops in Atascadero and Malibu, or downtown Detroit for example), these are the places I stayed in overnight, in approximate order (places stayed in more than once this year*) (places stayed in for the first time this year)
Santa Monica, CA*
Palm Springs, CA*
Las Vegas, NV*
Mojave, CA*
Paso Robles, CA*
Campbell, CA*
San Jose, CA*
Willow Glen, CA *
Barstow, CA*
San Francisco, CA*
Hanover, Germany
Orlando, FL*
Passe-a-Grille, FL
Anna Maria Island, FL
Bradenton, FL
Atlanta, GA*
Santa Barbara, CA
Laguna Beach, CA
Santa Clarita, CA
Dearborn, MI*
Redmond, WA*
Anaheim, CA*
San Juan Island, WA
Bellevue, WA*
Los Angeles, CA*
Ojai, CA
Lake Isabella, CA

June Lake, CA
Mariposa, CA
Pismo Beach, CA
Benidorm, Spain (despite claims it was Alicante, it was definitely Benidorm)
St Helier, Jersey

Countries visited: US, Spain, Germany, Channel Islands
US States visited: California, Washington, Florida, Nevada, Georgia, Michigan
US States visited for the first time: Michigan
US States stayed in for the first time that we'd previously driven through: Georgia
Crazy road trips: taking six days to drive from LA to Paso Robles by going over the Sierras and across the Central Valley twice - other road trips sane for values of 'let's go from LA to Vegas via Palm Springs and 29 Palms' and similar.
Craziest commute: LHR-LAX-SEA-LAX-SEA-LAX (yes, we went through LAX six times in three weeks)
High point: I thought it would be 8,300 on Mt. Whitney Trailhead, which might be the highest new place of the year, but it's more likely Tioga Pass again at 9,945
Low point: haven't been that depressed this year, actually....
Airlines flown: Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, BMI, Delta, FlyBe, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Iberia
New Ferry journeys taken: Anacortes to Friday Harbour, San Juan Island
New Cirque du Soleil show: Iris in LA
Donuts of the year: Top Pot in Bellevue keeps its crown against the robot donut maker in Pike Place Market and the cafe on St Catherine's breakwater but the specially less sweet Voodoo Donuts recipes at the J Lohr tasting get an honorable mention, as does the robot donut maker at the MAX conference party because it produced possibly the most welcome donut of the year
Best grilled cheese: Virgin Clubhouse, LHR - only on the menu for a month
Bands seen for the first time: Head and the Heart, Slacktone, Pollo del Mar, Ra Ra Riot, We Are Scientists, Weezer
Things 'I've been meaning to do for years' finally accomplished: stopping at the Lazy Daisy in Santa Monica for late brunch, dumplings at Din Tai Fung in Bellevue, lining my purple fake fur neckwarmer with bright green fleece, driving into Yosemite on the Tioga Pass in daylight so we could see it, moving our website to a system where we could make it work (Tumblr)
Things I said I'd never do that I did this year: visit CeBIT - just for a day, not that successfully, although I got work and useful contacts out of it
Things I didn't see the point of that I now really like: the Xbox, which has become a useful home entertainment integration point (still don't get console gaming but I do like Kinect), socks (I always went barefoot whenever possible, now I need arch support and get cold feet), Twitter
Things I used to do a lot that I did at least once this year: interview a science fiction author for publication rather than just as someone to chat to, went to the RFH on the South Bank just to hang out
Articles written: 210 (up from 161 in 2010, both counting all paid blog posts for a month as one article)
Articles linked: a lot more on Twitter than on LJ, which I must fix
Things seen for the first time: fireflies (in the rain!), a forked bolt of lightning (head on not out of the corner of my eye), Detroit
Favourite purchase of the year: lime green fedora hat
Thankfulnesses: too many to count, most of them to friends new and old


Seasoned Greetings 2011

Seasoned Greetings 2011
Originally uploaded by marypcb.
Simon and Mary's year in photos

Solstice and Yule greetings, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, joy of the season at the turning of the year, however you celebrate it!

If you click through to the image on flickr, you can see notes about each image.

Where have you been this year, Mary?

Roughly in order visited, here are the places - other than London! - where we've spent a night or more this year. This misses places when we stayed nearby; we were in Seattle but stayed in Kirkland, in almost every area of the bay but stayed in SF, San Jose and Campbell... * means we spent more than one night there, + means we visited multiple times and underlined places are those I hadn't stayed in before...

Springdale, UT *
Las Vegas, NV *+
Mojave, CA
Paso Robles, CA +
Cambria, CA
Campbell, CA *+
Barcelona, Spain *
(we didn't spend the night as we drove through it, but on the way we stopped in Perpignan and Dijon)
Calais, France
Orlando, FL *
Cincinnati, OH *
Ashland, KY
Lexington, VA
Sparta, NC
Brevard, NC
Charleston, SC
Saint Augustine, FL
Melbourne, FL
Laguna Beach, CA *
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA *
Santa Monica, CA *+
Atascadero, CA
New Orleans, LA *
Dublin, Ireland *
Bellevue, WA *
Kirkland, WA *+
Furnace Springs, CA
Palm Springs, CA *+
Palm Desert, CA *
San Francisco, CA *+
St Clement, Jersey *+
San Jose, CA *+
Mariposa, CA *
Lee Vining, CA *
Malvern Wells, Hertfordshire
Hay-on-Wye, Powys
Los Angeles, CA *+
Portland, OR *
McMinnville, OR
Coos Bay, OR
Eureka, CA

Countries: USA, Spain, France, Ireland, Jersey

US States visited: Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Utah, California, Ohio, Florida, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Washington, Oregon, Louisiana, Missouri (just the runway)

US States visited for the first time this year: West Virginia, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri


Airlines flown this year: Virgin Atlantic, BMI, British Airways, Delta, Jet Blue, Southwest, FlyBe, Virgin America (first time and we loved it)

US National Parks visited: Zion, Death Valley, Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains, Canaveral National Shoreline, Yosemite, Alcatraz Island, Mount Rainier

Highest point: Tioga Pass 9,945 (the highest accessible by car pass in California) (not higher than we've been before, but on a new road to us - the 120)

Places we finally got to after years of going right past: Alcatraz

Adverse weather conditions: stranded in Barcelona (volcanic ash), Tioga Pass closed after we drove over it (early snow), the storm we were a day ahead of all the way down from Seattle, the minor snowpocalypse in London (more iced in than snowed in)

Ferries taken: Condor (Poole-St Helier-Weymouth), P&O (Calais-Dover), Washington State Ferries (Clinton-Mukilteo), the ferry across the Mississippi from New Orleans and back

Craziest road trip taken: a toss up between the week we spent driving back from Ohio to Florida having just flown there - Cincinnati to Fort Lauderdale via the Blue Ridge Parkway and down the Florida coast - and the 13-hour drive from Perpignan to Calais to escape Barcelona after the volcano so we could fly to Orlando.
Saner road trips taken: Las Vegas to Palm Springs (via Death Valley), Seattle to San Jose (via the Willamette Valley, Portland and the Oregon coast)

Wine areas tasted in: Paso Robles, Washington, Willamette Valley, Santa Cruz mountains, Lodi, Livermore

New cuisine of the year: New Orleans (beignet! crawfish boil! better shrimp and grits!). - or food carts in Portland. We also had our first full molecular gastronomy menu at Baume in Palo Alto and sous vide at Republica in Seattle.

Previously unexpected food discovery of the year: good chinese food in Ohio

Previously unexpected alcohol discovery of the year: I like American winter ales and some pumpkin ales (Elysium)

Old favourites that are still as good: Original Joes in San Jose, Tamarine in Palo Alto, Enoteca Turi in Putney

Donuts of the year: Top Pot in Bellevue narrowly beats Cafe du Monde in N'Orleans due to the variety - the robot donut maker in Pike Place Market and the cafe on St Catherine's breakwater always get an honourable mention

Best grilled cheese: tillamook sourdough the bakery in McMinneville OH

Friends seen: never enough!

Seasoned Greetings 2010

Seasoned Greetings 2010
Originally uploaded by marypcb.
Another year of travelling, working, having fun, seeing friends, meeting new people and learning new things – we hope you had a great year too

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and blessings of the season

A year in motion: 2009

I went to pretty much all the same places as Simon, and it was a very US-centric year.

Countries visited: US, Spain, Jersey (the original)

New states visited: Hawaii, New Mexico, Colorado (just done airport touchdowns before), Massachusetts, the New England states on the train line from Boston-New York

Familiar states become more familiar: Arizona*, Utah*, California*, Oregon*, Washington*, Nevada*, New York* (that's not just multiple nights, that's multiple visits)

Familiar airports: LHR, LGW, LAS, SFO, SJC, LAX, SEA, MCO, JFK, JER

New airports: Newark, Hilo HI, Honolulu HI, Boston, Ontario CA 

New modes of travel: train from Boston to New York, BART from SFO into San Francisco, true monorail around Newark airport, barge around the American Southwest (I don't know what else to call the Grand Marquee we rented)

Trains revisited: London Underground, Barcelona Metro, New York subway, LA Metro

Road trips: Five national parks in five days (Grand Canyon, Navajo national monument, Monument Valley, Valley of the Gods, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce, Zion: Las Vegas - Arizona - Utah - Las Vegas) - Down the Washington and Oregon coasts to SF (Seattle, Olympic peninsula, Oregon coast) - Up the west coast from San Diego to Seattle (through the middle of Oregon via Crater Lake and the Willamette Valley) - Around Big Island (stopping just about everywhere) - Round the Southwest for Thanksgiving (via two Microsoft stores, one arcology, one petrified forest, the Rockies and the Salt Lake: LA - Mission Viejo - Palm Springs - Scottsdale AZ - Flagstaff - Gallup NM - Trinidad CO - Grand Junction CO - Elko NV - SF)

Novel experiences: tasting on a coffee plantation, tree frog choruses, watching turtles, doing a show at Madison Square Gardens, leaving a credit card in a ticket machine in Barcelona, reaching gold on Virgin, visiting two observatories (Palomar and the Griffith), liking New York

Highest point reached without a plane: 11,000 feet on the freeway through the Rockies


We had a wonderful year – we hope you did too

All the best
Mary and Simon

p.s this image was made with the rather impressive AutoCollage from Microsoft Research Cambridge and Paint.NET – enjoy! See the full-size image hereCollapse )

A trip through 2008

New places visited: Arizona canyons and Meteor Crater; Palm Springs; Les Arc (my first ski-ing resort, where I didn't manage to ski but did toboggan); the East Sierras; Passe a Grille (and some other new islands around St Petersburg/Tampa) and ice cream shops across Florida and the Fountain of Youth where rowanf did an archaeology dive; Madrid (and the Rock In Rio concert, which is further away than you'd expect for somewhere where the headline act goes on stage at midnight).

New places visited that we've wanted to go to for years: Joshua Tree, which we've seen signs for on many trips. Watts Towers, Los Angeles, which I read about in a Kaffe Fasset knitting book in the 80s and wanted to see ever since. Mono Lake, which I saw on a postcard in a hotel a previous January. North California - not only had we never just gone North from San Francisco without not getting past the wine country, but I've wanted to drive through a drive-through tree since I was a child - we did two! The Getty Villa, for which you have to book so we usually aren't organised and do the Getty Centre instead. Mount Shasta, which I used to see from plane windows before we started taking later flights home and always wanted to see from ground level.

New things finally visited in places we've been before: We've driven past the Computer History Museum in Mountain View more times than I can count; we finally visited with rowanf and galileopan, and then went to a conference upstairs (the Internet Identity Workshop I've had a standing invite to for many years) where we found the charming Honeywell Animals. Lurgashall winery when we've been drinking the wines for years. Santa Monica where we found both a fabulous diner and a delightful breakfast cafe (range pancakes!). Macworld in San Francisco; only my second ever US Apple event. Ad Hoc, the Thomas Keller permanent temporary restaurant in Yountville. Ravenswood winery - and the second time we went it was the Zinfandel barrel tasting.

Revisited after much time: Moscow, which is as monumental as I remembered but very different from my 1984 visit in other ways. Lulworth, which we seem to have last visited in 2003. Corfe Castle, which we haven't seen in years. Edinburgh, where we should see friends more often and at greater length.

Revisited but new to Simon: Moscow; Juan Les Pin and Cannes; Bletchley Park

New to me and revisits for Simon: HP's Wood Street office which has a Regus floor where he once worked - amazing glass elevators; Cirque du Soleil La Nouba in Orlando

Favourites we introduced friends to: Cirque du Soleil (to which we took both my sisters on separate continents); Justin - the members tasting room and the dining room

Old favourites in new places: Loudon Wanwright in Los Angeles

Places we just keep going: Las Vegas; the Grand Canyon; Yosemite; Paso Robles; Napa/Sonoma; San Francisco - Santa Cruz - San Jose - Big Sur - Los Angeles; San Diego; Mojave; Tehachapi; Death Valley; Cinncinati; Orlando; the BT Telecom Tower

Best place to work this year: the (closed) cafe at Stinson Beach

Countries: Scotland, US, Russia, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland (but either we never left the airport or we left the airport and didn;t stop until France)

States: Arizona, Nevada, California, Florida, Ohio (Kentucky on the way), Texas (but only to change planes)

Things regretted in 2008: losing my Eddie Bauer down jacket in a hotel in Arizona; losing a cat to illness and a quarter of a cat to bone cancer; being disorganised enough as a result of losing a quarter of a cat to cancer to have missed a phone interview twice, irritating the interviewee into being unpleasantly rude; getting stressed by bank account fraud; not seeing friends as often as we'd like; quite how often I put my back out and that osteopathy is not available on the NHS; that money really is a consensual fiction.

Things not regretted in 2008: how much we are able to travel, the interesting places we see, the amazingly cool people we get to meet and talk to, the nifty and novel things we get paid to write about, the fact that we can alternate between being pushed to finish 200 words in a day and writing 15,000 words between us in a week; returning to editing and commissioning for the first time since 2001 and launching a new magazine just before everyone realised that money is a consensual fiction.

Things planned for 2009: doing nearly all of it again, plus some new and fun things


Seasoned Greetings

It’s been ice and snow from one end of 2008 to the other!*

Merry Christmas, happy New Year, happy holidays and joy at the turning of the year, to you and yours

*Arizona, East Sierras, Mount Shasta, Greenland and Richmond Deer Park, variously...

2006 travels, 2007 travels

We're off to Las Vegas for CES on Thursday morning (with a quick scoot into the Arizona to see the Grand Canyon and then up to the Bay Area for some R&R - that's Research and Recreation although we shall try to avoid doing seven meetings in two days this time as we'll have had enough of that at CES).

Over Christmas we totted up our usual annual travel and it was both more and less than 2005; more time away, more continents visited, more friends seen, more companies met, far less time in Europe, fewer train journeys, fewer photos uploaded to Flickr (I just got behind on one trip and never got back in the rhythm).

Countries visited
US - San Francisco (not counting how many visits any more!), San Jose, Cupertino, Palo Alto, Mountain View and generally the Bay Area; down the coast to Pacific Grove and on to Carmel, Big Sur, SLO, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica and Los Angeles; Barstow, Death Valley, Las Vegas; Dallas - the city once and then just the airport, for hours and hours; Fort Lauderdale via Miami (and Simon went to Orlando too); New York; San Diego; Seattle; Chicago (my turn for a solo trip).
New Zealand - side to side and from Auckland and Coromandel down to Dunedin and Glenorchy and back!
Hong Kong
Germany - Munich
Switzerland - Geneva

Countries I submitted copy from while on the road
All of the above except Germany

Places of geek pilgrimage visited
WETA Digital
Dave Hewlett & Bill Packard's office
HP Research, Microsoft Research (Seattle and Silicon Valley)
Slip F8 Bahia Mar

Airlines flown
BA, Virgin Atlantic, JetBlue, Air New Zealand, Alaskan Air, American, United, Lufthansa

Longest itineraries
London - New York - Oakland - San Jose - LA - San Diego - Seattle - New York - London
London - San Francisco - Las Vegas - Dallas - San Francisco - Miami - Fort Lauderdale - Dallas - San Jose/San Francisco - London

Trees planted:
one each


Travelling 2005

I'm not even going to try and count the number of days out of the UK ;-)

Countries visited
US - Orlando, Seattle (x3), Las Vegas, San Francisco (x6), San Jose (x2), Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego, Boise
France - Cannes, Paris, Lille, Dunkerque
Belgium - Bruges, Ostend, Antwerp
Hungary - Budapest
Jersey (x3)
Holland - Amsterdam

Countries I submitted copy from while on the road

All of the above except Hungary!

Airlines flown
Alaskan, American, United, BA, Virgin Atlantic, Malev, KLM, Fly.be

New planes flown

MD-80, Canadair regional jet

Longest itinerary by distance
London - Orlando - Seattle - Las Vegas - Seattle - London

Longest itinerary by stops

London - Chicago - San Diego - San Francisco - Boise - San Francisco - Seattle - San Francisco - London

Trips through the Channel Tunnel
London-Paris-London x2
Ostend-Ashford (Eurostar shuttle)

Best hotels: Wynn Las Vegas, W San Francisco, W Seattle, Hotel Del Coronado, Le Meridien Budapest, a delightful hotel in Beaulieu-sur-mer which was probably the Metropole or the Carlton or the Residence Carlton...

Best new restaurants: I Love Sushi in Bellevue/Kirkland, the franco-hungarian place in Budapest, Chicken Rotisserie in Pasadena

Fabulous moments: lobster in LA, snow on Mount Rainier, in a convertible on Highway 1, in a mini round Napa and Sonoma, impromptu Thai chicken salad and rose pinot, Sun in Cannes, comic statues on a Belgian promenade with sand across the road, back to the Getty Museum, finding a gourmet restaurant in Boise, eating in a greenhouse in Amsterdam, the baths in Budapest, phoning an analyst in New York from the Anchor Steam bar in SFO to write copy for a magazine in Bath...

Best part of travelling: seeing new places, meeting old friends, learning new things


Seasoned greetings everyone

Christmas Card 2006
Originally uploaded by sbisson.
This was sunset on Mount Rainier when we were there last month - Simon's done a lovely job posterising it.

Joy of the season - festive Solstice wishes - happy holidays - Merry Christmas - Hope for the New Year




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